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‘Brotherhood Ride’ to swing through Cape

By Staff | Jul 12, 2009

From July 18-23, approximately 25 firefighters and police officers will pedal 413 miles for a good cause.
The 413 Miles to Honor a Fallen Hero is dedicated this year to Fort Myers Police Officer Andrew Widman, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on July 18, 2008. The firefighters and police officers will meet at the North Naples Fire District Station 45 on the anniversary of Widman’s slaying and ride their bicycles for six days, ending up at Widman’s hometown in Fort Myers.
The 413 miles also is significant as it was Widman’s badge number.
“We would like to thank everyone involved from our riders to our support team and all who sponsor and donate to the Brotherhood Ride,” said ride organizer Jeff Morse.
On the first day, the riders will travel from North Naples to Arcadia. Day two will lead the group to Winter Haven and then on day three to Wachula. After arriving at the Cape Coral Elks Lodge, the riders will then travel west along Pine Island Road to Pine Island Center to head north to Bokeelia and then south to St. James City to complete this leg or the journey.
The group is expected to arrive on Pine Island at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, and will be escorted by members of the Pine Island Fire Department and deputies from the Lee County Sheriff’s Department. After leaving Pine Island, the riders will then travel to Punta Gorda and complete their ride on July 23 when they arrive at the Fort Myers Police Department.
The Brotherhood Ride first began when a group of North Naples Firefighters wanted to honor nine members of the Charleston, S.C., Fire Department that perished in the line of duty. The Brotherhood Ride was established in 2007.
“Their (Naples firefighters) desire to help the families of these brave professionals resulted in the creation of the Brotherhood Ride,” said Morse. “The brotherhood now consists of firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel. Each year we will honor an unsung hero or heroes from around the country by riding our bicycles from North Naples to their hometown.”
Also joining the ride this year are firefighters from as far away as Texas and Ohio. The ride will serve as not only a tribute to Widman but to raise financial aid for his family.
“Our mission is to provide emotional and financial support to the family and friends of these fallen heroes,” said Morse. “The ride takes place as close to the one year of the anniversary of their death, as a reminder that the brotherhood has not and will not forget them.”
All proceeds from this year’s Brotherhood Ride will go to the Widman family and to establish an annual Officer of the Year award.
For more information about the Brotherhood Ride or to make a donation, call Jeff Morse at 633-7098 or visit brotherhoodride.com